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Launched at the 2016 Women Deliver Conference, Copenhagen, Denmark

May 17, 2016

  1. In September 2015, the United Nations General Assembly adopted by consensus Resolution 70/1: Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (the 2030 Agenda).
  1. The Resolution states that “realizing gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls will make a crucial contribution to progress.”
  1. The prioritization of gender equality and women’s rights is reflected in SDG 5 and in a cross-cutting manner through the 2030 Agenda, with eleven of the seventeen goals having gender-focused targets and indicators.
  1. The unprecedented ambition and broad support for gender equality in this agenda must be matched by equal ambition to ensure its implementation.
  1. High quality, comparable and regular gender- and age-disaggregated statistics are critically needed to address the existing data gaps and meet the ambitions of the SDGs, including the overarching aim to ‘leave no-one behind.’
  1. Good gender data provides the much-needed detail on the disparities that exist between men and women and boys and girls, identifies the underlying causes of inequality, and measures the impact of policy and programmatic interventions.
  1. In addition to closing pervasive gender data gaps, issues of systematic gender bias in existing measurement tools, fragmentation of gender data stakeholders, and technical and capacity challenges of national statistical systems must also be addressed.
  1. Data and statistics are essential for smart policy, and the lack of reliable gender data has hindered progress on advancing gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.
  1. As supporters and champions for this agenda, we recognize that gender data holds power to make the invisible, visible and actionable.
  1. Our shared ambition is not just to have good data on women and girls, but to ensure that it is used by governments, policy-makers, program designers, civil society and women themselves to hold stakeholders accountable for progress.
  1. The group of organizations represented here is committed to supporting the acceleration towards gender equality as outlined in Agenda 2030 and are announcing today that we will increase our focus and investments towards closing the core gender data challenges. We believe this is an urgent step in the process of implementing the Sustainable Development Goals.

Commitment Statements

Australian Government, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

In adopting the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development we have unequivocally said that gender equality is essential to achieving prosperity and a sustainable, equitable future for all. To realise this, we must be equally committed to closing pervasive gender data gaps. Improving global, regional and national capacity to deliver good gender data that is both multidimensional and captures individual-level information is critical to ensuring our policies and programs leave no one behind. Australian investments are strengthening the enabling environment for gender statistics, their production and accessibility. In addition to our current funding for prevalence data on violence against women, we are pleased to support innovative statistical programs that deepen gender-sensitive and multi-dimensional measures of poverty, as well tackling complex indicators such as unpaid work. That’s why Australia is supporting UN Women’s ‘Making every woman and girl count’ program and a new measure of individual level deprivation. It is our hope that these programs, and complementary efforts, will close gender data gaps.

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s vision is a world where every person has an equal opportunity for a healthy and productive life.  In the work that we and our partners do, we believe that gender inequality is a key barrier to reaching this vision and to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.  Across the women and girls’ development agenda, non-existent, weak, or non-comparable data and evidence drives and reinforces this inequality, inhibiting programmatic gains and progress. Today, the Gates Foundation is committing $80 million over the next 3 years to improve the quality, transparency, and use of gender data for decision making and accountability. This new money will support direct data improvement efforts and will support civil society and other partners to hold stakeholders accountable for accelerated progress across this agenda.

Data2X

Data2X, an initiative of the United Nations Foundation, is a collaborative technical and advocacy platform dedicated to improving the quality, availability and use of gender data in order to make a practical difference in the lives of women and girls worldwide.  Data2X works with UN agencies, governments, civil society, academics, and the private sector to close gender data gaps, promote expanded and unbiased gender data collection, and use gender data to improve policies, strategies, and decision-making. The gender data revolution will be fueled by partnerships. Over the next three years, Data2X will (1) strengthen our gender data partnerships in Women’s Economic Participation, Civil Registration and Vital Statistics, Women’s Financial Inclusion, and Big Data; (2) collaborate on gender data strategies with country partners as a gender data champion for the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data; and (3) advocate globally for girls and women by promoting new solutions to close gender data gaps and avenues for using gender data for policy change and accountability, including advancing the “Ready to Measure” platform to kick-start a baseline for gender equality.

Global Affairs Canada

Canada puts women and girls at the heart its development assistance agenda. Canada recognizes that to ensure that the Sustainable Development Goals deliver on progress for women and girls; we need to focus on closing the existing gaps in the generation of data to facilitate evidence-based policies and program investments that will address gender inequality, and ultimately, eliminate poverty. Canada will leverage engagement in existing partnerships such as those with the UN system; the OECD; the Global Health Data Collaborative; the H6, Gavi, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, the Global Financing Facility and the Centre of Excellence for Civil Registration and Vital Statistics (CRVS) systems; and others, to advocate for better statistics that address the needs and interests of women and girls and to ensure that our existing investments in data are fully disaggregated, gender-sensitive, comprehensive, and ultimately complementary to this new initiative. Canada views CRVS as a vital component to close the gaps in gender data and support a global data revolution which is essential for achieving gender equality, the empowerment of women and girls, and the realization of their human rights in the context of achieving sustainable development. Canada will work with this new partnership to ensure the evolution of gender data for accountability and to ensure real and lasting change for the world’s women and girls.

Justine Greening MP, UK Secretary of State for International Development

The UK supported the development of the Sustainable Development Goals, working with others for a stand-alone goal on gender equality. No country can develop if half of its population is locked out. Better data are essential if we are going to achieve the ambitions we signed up to at the UN in 2015. The UK commits to supporting the data revolution, including support for robust, comparable, sex and age-disaggregated data which are critical for making effective investments and ensuring no one is left behind. As an anchor partner for the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data, DFID will galvanise political commitments for data, strengthen capacities, foster innovation, including on gender data. As a member of the UN High Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment, I am aware that many of the most important issues to women are also areas that are not counted. We need better data to measure women’s economic contribution, pay, unpaid care work, women’s work in the informal sector and women’s access to productive assets, in order to track progress on this critical dimension of gender equality.

United Nations Foundation

The United Nations Foundation has long been a champion of empowering girls and women through our advocacy, thought leadership, convening power, and strategic communications.  We believe that that we cannot have gender equality without data equality, and that rich and unbiased development data is essential to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. The UN Foundation is committed in our own work to smart use of gender data to guide our efforts. In particular, we will do this by: (1) serving as the institutional home for the Data2X initiative and the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data and providing convening, communications, and policy advocacy support; (2) convening key actors engaged in our various campaigns and initiatives to improve the quality of data collection and analysis, harmonize efforts, and spur innovation; and (3) fostering a common understanding across the organization of the essential role that gender, and gender data, plays in hindering or promoting progress for girls and women around the world.

UN Women

The 2030 Agenda sets out a historic and unprecedented level of ambition to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls by 2030. To track its implementation, this agenda must be matched by a robust and equally ambitious monitoring framework. Significant investments in gender statistics are needed to ensure that evidence-based policies are devised, their impact is assessed and accountability is promoted. Through its new Flagship Programme Initiative “Making Every Women and Girl Count”, UN Women commits to supporting countries to improve the production, accessibility and use of gender statistics. This five-year investment will focus on three areas: (1) Putting in place an Enabling environment for a gender-responsive localization and effective monitoring of the SDGs; (2) Increasing data production to ensure that quality, comparable and regular gender statistics are produced to meet policy and reporting commitments under the SDGs; and (3) Ensuring data accessibility and use to inform policy and advocacy.

U.S. Agency for International Development

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) shares with the Gates Foundation the dedication to gathering gender -sensitive data as critical for achieving gender equality. We know that gender equality is not a part of development, but the core of development. U.S. Government data that is accessible, discoverable and usable by our partners and the international community fuels entrepreneurship, innovation, scientific discovery and enhanced development outcomes. With this commitment, we will continue to make investments across the Agency to leverage the vast amount of available data to enhance analysis and strategic decision making toward the goal of closing gender gaps and empowering women and girls.

  • USAID’s 2014 Policy on Development Data instructs all USAID operating units, including its worldwide missions, to ensure that USAID-funded data is centrally cataloged and made available to the public by default, with limited exceptions. USAID’s operational guidance of the Gender Equality and Female Empowerment and Evaluation Policies require that data, as appropriate, be sex-disaggregated.
  • To build the evidence base around what works for empowering women in agriculture, Feed the Future and its partners developed the Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index to measure women’s empowerment and inclusion in the sector by tracking data on women’s decision-making, access to and control over resources, leadership opportunities and time use.
  • In 1984, USAID created the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) Program that has provided technical assistance to low and middle income countries in the implementation of more than 300 surveys in 89 countries. Data collected through the DHS Program is nationally representative and provide some of the most comprehensive information on population, health, nutrition, and gender.
  • USAID provides ongoing support to the World Bank’s Women, Business and the Law project, in both scope and coverage. Women, Business and the Law collects data on laws and regulations constraining women’s entrepreneurship and employment.

U.S. Department of State

The U.S. Department of State is harnessing the data revolution for sustainable development, and remains committed to supporting data for gender equality across the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Real time, appropriately disaggregated, and dynamic data will help us better monitor and accelerate progress toward the Global Goals, and enable more cost effective approaches to reaching them. The United States has worked closely with the United Nations Interagency Experts Group to develop a global indicator framework to measure achievement of the SDGs. We are committed to using this framework to measure our own progress achieving the SDGs and are actively participating in the United Nations High-level Group for Partnership, Coordination and Capacity-Building to help other countries do the same. Additionally, as an anchor member of the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data, the United States is working with a range of partners to improve the availability and use of data to advance the SDGs, particularly those pertaining to good health and gender equality. U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and private sector partners support the $385 million DREAMS partnership, part of which includes a focus area on Data4DREAMS that will increase the availability and use of data to meet the urgent and complex needs of adolescent girls and young women.

The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

Ensuring women have—and can take advantage of—full and fair opportunities to earn a living is fundamental to social and economic development. Increased economic opportunity helps women, and their families, thrive. Yet the data that informs social and economic policy doesn’t reflect the reality of the lives of women and girls. The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation adopted a strategy in 2015 for new work to advance women’s economic empowerment in the developing world. Through our grantees, we seek to ensure that measures of labor force participation and economic productivity include women’s work, paid and unpaid; that advocacy to advance economic opportunity for women is informed by the best data; and that policymakers fully consider gender-specific implications of their economic policies. The Hewlett Foundation works in close partnership with others to support leading organizations that are fostering the generation and use of better, more comprehensive economic data.

The World Bank Group

The World Bank Group is fully committed to the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and SDG 5, and to achieving its vision of a shared planet free of poverty with nobody left behind. The WBG’s new Gender Equality Strategy 2016-2023, adopted in 2015, commits the Group to support both country level and global data initiatives:
(i) country level data collection as part of broader support for national statistical capacity and systems;
(ii) establishing best practices on collecting high-quality, individual-level information in priority areas in household surveys –asset ownership and control, time use, control over income, and employment, which will help client countries meet the increasing demand for this type of information as part of SDG 5.
(iii) working in partnership with the UN, through Data2X, and selected country statistical offices to enhance data collection in four priority areas: (1) physical and financial asset ownership and control, (2) time use, (3) employment, and (4) welfare; and
(iv) address critical sex-disaggregated data gaps on gender equality through Women, Business and the Law, our Global Findex database, and new Identification for Development Initiative, and support to private sector data collection, especially on financial inclusion.

Media inquiries:

nblecker@unfoundation.org
media@gatesfoundation.org